Al Quds

This is the Arabic name for the holiest of cities, the most sacred of cities, the most beautiful yet tragic of cities in the world. Jerusalem.

I have known Jerusalem all my life. I travelled to Jerusalem most weekends when I was young and walked through the cobbled streets and the alleyways of the ancient city. I ventured into each and every church and mosque and stood in awe within the Church of The Holy Sepulchre and in the great piazza of Al Haram Al Sharif. Al Aqsa Mosque, The Dome of the Rock, these magnificent edifices dating back hundreds of years have an aura all of their own that can’t be replicated or replaced. I remember climbing the Mount of Olives and the surrounding hills and filling my lungs with the mingled aromas of the olive trees, the jasmine and the almonds along with the thyme growing beneath my feet.

Now at this ripe age, when I look at this unique city I wonder what has befallen my beloved Jerusalem and what woes do the Zionist settlers have in mind for the future of Al Quds?

These are not rhetorical questions. What I am doing is airing my fears and my sense foreboding when I see or read what the Israeli occupation is doing to our beloved city and our brothers and sisters living there, the Jerusalemites. The ethnic cleansing of Palestine has been going on for the last 71 years. The ethnic cleansing of Jerusalem has intensified since Israel captured East Jerusalem in the 1967 war. More Israelis are moving into East Jerusalem, more property has been confiscated or bought by deceitful proxies and Jerusalem has been defaced beyond recognition. The assault on our ancient city does not stop at the harassment of the Jerusalemites and the revoking of their residency permits. It does not stop at a few deceitful Palestinians and Arabs and others selling Jerusalem by the square metre to the feral Israeli settlers. The assault continues and it culminated a year ago when Mr Trump, declaring Jerusalem, a city he does not own nor have any connection or title to, as the United Capital of Israel. As I am writing these words a further tender has been issued for the construction of over four hundred housing units for Israelis in Arab East Jerusalem. In the meantime, Jared Kushner, the son-in-law of Mr Trump and his special Middle East envoy is touring the area, twisting the arm of King Abdullah II of Jordan to accept ‘the deal of the century’ and to attend the ‘forthcoming workshop’ in Manama, Bahrain to complete the total abrogation of Palestinian rights and aspirations and the end of Jerusalem as a Palestinian city.

What is Palestine without Jerusalem at its heart?

Today is the final Friday of the holy month of Ramadan. A day that was designated internationally “Al Quds” Day. Jerusalem Day. It was started by Iran forty years ago and I have just seen live footage of hundreds of thousands of Iranians commemorating the day by marching through the streets of Teheran and other Iranian cities waving banners saying “ No to the Deal Of The Century”.

With all that is going on in the Middle East, the amassing of American fire power, the ratcheting up of the rhetoric, propaganda and lies against Iran will we live to see another Al Quds Day?

Will the international community take note of what is happening to the city that is holy to all the people of the book, Jews, Christians and Muslims or will the world continue to look the other way and allow Israel to continue the Judaisation of the Holy City?

Jafar M Ramini is a Palestinian writer and political analyst, based in London, presently in Perth, Western Australia. He was born in Jenin in 1943 and was five years old when he and his family had to flee the terror of the Urgun and Stern gangs. Justice for the people of Palestine is a life-long commitment.


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